Initially released in 1982, Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" is a dystopian science fiction film featuring unique techniques, making the film a distinctive one. Scott's usage of cinematography, symbolism and film noir has helped in distinguishing between the replicants and humans, which is the main idea in this film. The different varieties of cinematography used helps the viewer to understand the natural and the unnatural world, while symbolism and imagery defines the humans and their characteristics. The usage of film noir makes the mise-en-scene dull and dark.
The cinematographer, Jordan Cronenweth, has used a range of cinematography techniques in this film to highlight the differences between the natural and unnatural world. The opening shot has a view of the skyline of Los Angeles shot at a wide angle in dark. It gives us the sense of an unnatural world, with tall buildings and fire blasts surrounded by darkness enforcing the dystopic and foreboding future. One of the most important cinematography techniques in film noir films is lighting. In Blade Runner, a lighting pattern is used to differentiate the replicants from the humans. The shadows casted across a characters face suggests that there is an evil or darker side to the character. Hence, a character can be defined as a replicant in such a way. The mise-en-scene in this film creates a sense of claustrophobia. The regular downpour of rain in the waste-dumped street along with the artificial light contributes to the sense of claustrophobia, showing us the dystopic unnatural world. .
The symbolism and usage of the eye in this film plays a vital role in defining the humans and the replicants. The eye is one of the main recurring symbols and also one of the strongest. The eye is emphasised a lot in this film. For example, during the Voight-Kampff test, the iris is continually monitored for any emotional response the replicant provides.